I left Youngstown in 1960 and — you know, Youngstown, Ohio, was a country town — came to Jersey City surrounded by Newark and New York, and everyone kind of had a nickname. So I tried to fit in, and I decided to come up with a nickname, and I came up with Kool
Kool & the Gang began life as a jazz group called the Jazziacs, formed in 1964. They began to move to rhythms more usually akin to R&B, however, and as Kool & the Gang their singles helped them to become a staple on the R&B charts. Despite “Jungle Boogie” and “Hollywood Swinging”‘s success in the top 10 pop charts, during the mid 1970s their influence waned, only scoring the occasional top 40 hit. It appeared that the rise of Disco and its emphasis on producers and vocalists – rather than instrumentalists – had ended the group’s popularity. However, the group added two new vocalists – notably James “J.T” Taylor, who helped them record “Celebration”, their only no.1 hit. Thereafter they scored several popular hits, and have continued to release a number albums.